There are various ways to extract essential oil from plants, but one in particular is the fastest and most effective. Let’s see it in detail.

plant oil

Essential oils , responsible for the pleasant aroma of plants, have been recognized and used since ancient times .

Over the centuries, their fate has oscillated between greatness and obscurity, with the latter often corresponding to advances in chemistry and synthetic compounds.

However, since the 1990s, essential oils have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity and come under renewed scrutiny.

This has led to the widespread adoption of aromatherapy as a means of healing and relaxation.

Essential oils are used to improve one’s physical , emotional and mental well-being, thus helping to improve the quality of life.

The process of how to extract oil from fragrant plants is intriguing and requires a complete understanding of the flora. However, it is also quite achievable at home with great ease.

To do this you need a 12 L distiller , a gas or electric stove, some water and scented plants, such as mint, lavender, thyme, rosemary , savory and sage, which boast a rich concentration of essential oils.

For the process , approximately 2 kg of freshly harvested plants are sufficient during their balsamic period, when they are more concentrated in active compounds.

Extract essential oil from plants with distillation

Steam distillation is a process in which steam is used to separate a mixture of two or more substances that have different boiling points.

Extract the essential oil

To obtain essential oils, steam distillation is the reference technique, which involves the exploitation of the steam generated by boiling water .

The vapor then passes through the plant matter present in the still, carrying with it the aromatic molecules of the plant cells.

These molecules are incredibly light, making them highly volatile and easy to vaporize. The water vapor and volatile molecules then flow through a condenser, returning to a liquid state.

Due to their composition, essential oils have a lower density than water and will naturally sit on top of aromatic water.

The latter is formed when the vapor returns to its liquid state, scattering micro droplets of essential oil that create the unique aroma of the plant being distilled.

Separating the two fluids is simple using a basic separating funnel since they are immiscible.

The products of distillation are the pure essential oil and the aromatic water also called hydrosol .

Far from being simple waste, aromatic water is a valuable by-product of distillation.

This versatile liquid can be used for a variety of purposes, from iron water to facial toner and even as a powerful antiseptic for plants.

Extract the essential oil

Keep in mind that freshly distilled essential oils may not always be fragrant as they must undergo a maturation period , which typically lasts several weeks.

During this period it is essential to let the oil rest to reach its ideal aroma .

How to store essential oils

Due to their delicate nature, essential oils must be handled with great care, as they are vulnerable to rancidity and deterioration which can lead to the loss of their natural fragrance and even the development of harmful substances.

To preserve their integrity it is essential to store them in dark glass containers , protected from direct exposure to light and heat.

Essential oils are concentrated and contain active molecules , some of which can have toxic effects.

For this reason, they should be used sparingly, in drops, seeking expert advice to avoid potential harm.